Q: I’m suddenly seeing pea protein everywhere. What is it and is it healthy?
A:Pea protein is an extract from split peas, and food manufacturers are adding this protein to a variety of foods like energy bars, meal-replacement shakes, veggie burgers and even cereals. You can also find it as a powder to add when making smoothies.
With protein getting a lot of attention right now, pea protein offers a healthy option. Traditional approaches to boosting protein might have involved larger meat portions, yet evidence is strong that excess red and processed meats increase risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Read more… “HealthTalk: Pea protein is everywhere, is it healthy?”
Q: Do I need a certain type of dietary fiber or should I just aim for the recommended total?
A: Current research most strongly supports aiming to meet recommendations for total dietary fiber, yet different types of fiber offer unique benefits. So to get the most overall health protection, include a wide variety of foods that provide dietary fiber every day.
You probably are familiar with soluble and insoluble fiber. Research has now moved forward to identifying fiber that is more specifically based on the way it seems to work in the body. Here are three major types:
Viscous fibers form a gel in the intestinal tract. These fibers can lower LDL cholesterol – known as the ‘bad’ type – and reduce blood sugar surges after meals by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. Some evidence suggests that these gel-forming fibers may support weight management by increasing satiety.
AICR’s latest comprehensive update on colorectal cancer produced a delicious finding on how you can lower your risk for that disease. Simply swap out some refined grains, like white bread or white rice, for flavorful whole grain foods daily and you’ll create a more cancer-protective diet.
In the report, scientists found strong evidence, for the first time, that eating 90 grams (about 3 ounces) of whole grain foods daily reduces risk for colorectal cancer by 17 percent. Fewer amounts of whole grains provided some – but less – protection; greater amounts offered even more.
This may be due, the report says, to the many compounds in whole grain foods like fiber, vitamin E, selenium, lignans, phenols and others that have shown anti-cancer actions in lab studies.